Crystalizing marble [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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06-04-2006, 04:23 AM
What is crystalizing? We have a set of Statuary marble steps that are about 50 years old. They look to be about 3/4" thick, and are worn and dirty. Our marble cleaning contractor wants to crystalize them because he says that it is better than sealing and will make them look like new. I will probably only do this once, as we will be selling the house and want to make it look good.

I would appreciate any advice you could give.

Also, we are renovating the place where we are moving, and have just put down a Thassos tile floor. Should this be crystalized? Sealed?

How do I know what marbles and granites need to be sealed and which don't?

Thanks in advance.

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06-04-2006, 05:37 AM
Crystalization is a process of polishing with a machine,and crystalization chemical, usually oxalic acid, and a magnesium something, i can't remember the name.It's a normal process,nothing to be alarmed about.If you want the thassos to be shiney that's fine.Many churches and such have cleaning companies come in and do this to restore marble.....marble is essentally limestone that has crystalized in the earth.You won't need a sealer afterward.

06-04-2006, 06:31 AM
I have to respectfully disagree with Dave on this one. The Crystallization process might be commonplace, but it is by no means the best way to care for your stone.

The marble gets damaged terribly by such a procedure. Lots of folks (hotels, churches, etc.) still do it, but the floors they do it on are so damaged, that fixing them is beyond anybody's ability and many once very beautiful floors need to be ripped out because of it.

Crystallization forms a thick layer on top of the stone and does not allow for normal vapor migration through the stone. This ends up "rotting" the stone from the inside and causes unsightly holes, river-like veins. The "desired" finish when doing this procedure is a waxy, plasticky looking surface.

Here are two articles about what crystallization really is and why it is damaging to stone: (both articles require Adobe Reader)

Article #1 (,com_docman/task,doc_download/gid,19/)
Article #2 (,com_docman/task,doc_download/gid,20/)

A much better option would be to hire a bonafide stone restoration professional to come and grind, hone and repolish the marble to its' former glory. It will give a superior result and ensure that your stone steps will last another few generations.

06-04-2006, 07:21 AM
What Adrianna said.

There is an ongoing debate about the crystalization process, and as far as I can tell, the only good things being said about it are that it is fast, cheap, and almost any mop monkey can do it. Polishing stone is a mechanical process, and this chemical quick fix is a poor substitute for a proper restoration.


06-04-2006, 07:51 AM
I knew some of you would be by to add to this,but i posted it anyway,seeing as so many very expensive projects were done this way,i figured it would do for a small stoop. :tup2:

06-04-2006, 08:30 AM
I agree with John and Adriana.

Please don't let them crystallize your thassos either. A good sealer, followed by maintenance with a tile & stone specific neutral pH cleaner will keep your floor in good shape for many years to come.

Chris the Rep
06-04-2006, 11:12 AM
Any bets that the "marble cleaning contractor" mentioned in the original post is a franchise type operation?

When I first learned of crystalization, it was pretty much described along the lines of what JVC and GraniteGirl said. Cheap to do, low skill required, and wrecks the stone.